President-elect Donald Trump spoke Friday with Taiwan’s president, a major departure from decades of U.S. policy in Asia and a breach of diplomatic protocol with ramifications for the incoming president’s relations with China.

The call is the first known contact between a U.S. president or president-elect with a Taiwanese leader since before the United States broke diplomatic relations with the island in 1979. China considers Taiwan a province, and news of the official outreach by Trump is likely to infuriate the regional military and economic power.

The exchange is one of a string of unorthodox conversations with foreign leaders that Trump has held since his election. It comes at a particularly tense time between China and Taiwan, which earlier this year elected a president, Tsai Ing-wen, who has refused to accept the notion of a unified China under Beijing’s rule. Her election angered Beijing to the point of cutting off all official communication with the island government.

It is not clear whether Trump intends a more formal shift in U.S. relations with Taiwan or China. On the call, Trump and Tsai congratulated each other on winning their elections, a statement from Trump’s transition office said.

Again, what is he thinking??!! How can Trump ignore 30 years of diplomatic relationship?  Our relationship is delicate.  Why would he put this relationship at risk?

We also don’t know if the error was pure ignorance or if Trump simple didn’t care.  He has refused security briefings after the first day or so.  He did not call the state department to question the correct protocol.

Wars are started over less serious breeches in international etiquette.  Let’s hope the Chinese have understanding for little boys who want to be president.  We could need their help in the very near future, especially if North Korea decides to break bad.

Trump is proving that he is truly dangerous.

13 Thoughts to “Trump steps in it with China–speaks with Taiwan president”

  1. Kelly_3406

    China just conducted missile tests with 10 DF-21s on 28 Nov as a demonstration that it can “destroy US Asia-Pacific bases at any time.” I think it was a rather elegant response for the president-elect to speak with the president of Taiwan.

    1. Other than we have no diplomatic relations with them as a nation.
      I don’t follow your logic. Obviously Taiwan can’t destroy us.

    2. Kelly_3406


      China’s missile tests were intended to be provocative and disrespectful to the president-elect. Trump’s chat with the president of Taiwan was a response in kind — it disrespects China’s desire that the world treat Taiwan as a mere province.

      China has become increasingly belligerent to the US over the last decade. It is time to make China pay a price for its provocations if the US wishes to remain relevant in the Pacific theater.

      1. I am curious how you are privy to the intentions of China?

      2. Kelly_3406


        The DF-21 is the infamous “carrier-killer” that has been under development by China. Any exercise involving the DF-21 is clearly directed at the US.

        A missile test involving such a large number of carrier-killers within a month after the presidential election? The message is unmistakable. It is all part of the “dance of signals and relationships” mentioned by NorthofNokesville below.

      3. It seems to me that “walk softly and carry a big stick” is the more prudent way to go.

        Trump is dabbling in areas he knows nothing about. He refuses security briefings. His knowledge base of foreign affairs is weak at best.

        Frankly, I think all countries should be on their guard.

        Regardless, he shouldn’t have broken diplomatic protocol.

  2. NorthofNokesville

    Seems to be a lot of supposition around this. Chinese business/diplomacy is often a dance of signals and relationships, and assessing any “move” only makes sense in a much larger context. Not sure who has all that.

    Also, it’s not like we don’t deal with Taiwan, period, full stop. We don’t have “diplomatic” relationships, but we have a nearly-four decade old congressional act that lays out how we engage with them, including a defense pact. The Obama administration and GOP-led Congress sold military boats to Taiwan (law passed then Admin acted on it a year ago), almost $2B worth of arms.

    Also, who called whom? These facts matter.

    It could be a clumsy move, or it could be a deliberate signal, or both. And look at China’s response – some official diplomatic fussing with a public quip, “It’s a gimmick.” They know the dance – the game – as well. I would, this may be one area where Trump’s skillset brings a breath of fresh air. He’s a negotiator, a positioner, and he loves the iterative game.

    As we get deeper into policy specifics, the ever-present armchair quarterbacking will inevitably get more tiresome, particularly when it neglects the long arc. And the Chinese play the long game, no doubt. Consider the famous quip, when a Chinese leader was asked what he thought about the French Revolution, and he responded, “Too early to tell.”

    1. Ha!
      I think Trump needs to take office before he starts acting on behalf of the USA. He is a greenhorn.

      1. NorthofNokesville


        Everything now is signalling. And he didn’t “act” per se, he took a phone call.

        Likely this was an “eh, who is calling?” moment but possible he’s being strategic.

        And from the left, slipping back into “we’re much smarter” derision and underestimation. Same habits that cost the election, and failure to recognize this isn’t textbook diplomacy, but it is textbook poker playing. Make people bet against you when they probably shouldn’t…. and over-confidence drives it.

        Not defending because I believe in the man… pointing out salient factors because I think substantive criticism and opposition is needed, but is thin.

      2. Taking a phone call, if that indeed is what happened, is an act. He has lied about so much, I simply don’t believe him.

        I find this behavior unacceptable, considering how little Trump knows.

        I really fear for this nation.

  3. Robin Hood

    Too much gloating, Too few intelligence briefings. Wait for the diversionary tweet. This guy still acts like he’s on the Blue Collar Comedy Tour. Larry the Cable Guy would have been better.

    Should have nominated Bernie!

    1. ARRRGGHHH! We didn’t (nominate Bernie). That is simply second guessing. Should have nominated anyone but Trump is more to the point.

      1. Robin Hood

        Larry the Cable Guy!


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